tv [untitled] June 25, 2011 10:30pm-11:00pm PDT
>> happiness rains supreme. nearly one thousand couples tide the not. >> by the powers invested in me, i declare you husband and wife. >> the north like court was turned into a huge extension of the city clerk and hundreds of city and county employees were trained as volunteers. >> the process has been amazing. the people have been so gracious and supportive. the energy here is fantastic with so many couples getting married.
it's a fantastic experience. so wonderful. >> we have been planning this for a year. we thought we were doing the ceremony for the 2 of us. actually, being able to be a part of this time in history and in our history is amazing. >> it's really nice to have our relationship recognized as important as our parents and not something less than. >> we have been waiting for 18 years for this and when it was available for the state, we had been waiting for a long time and wanting this. this is a momentous occasion to have equal rights.
[applause]. >> we have been together for 14 years. it's been really great and we're really pleased we came during this 2 weeks. everybody has been so welcoming and it's been so set up and people have guided us. it's been easy, there was live music. people are so friendly. so excited for us. it's really great. >> but i would also like to say thank you to the mayor and the city attorneys for bringing this forward. >> absolutely. >> because that's where it started >> this smooth running operation did not come by accident. it requires planning and a thorough rethrough. >> today san francisco took the step to make a case that we believe in the words of the
california institution. we took action. >> from february 12th to march 11, 2004. under the direction of the mayor, they gave licenses to 4 thousand same sex couples. they came from all or the united states. >> they were overwhelmed with the same chance to get married. >> we started to get them couple by couple and that line starting going down the hall way, around the block and continued over the weekend.
they drove from washington, oregon, we saw families and hoping they would get through the door before we closed down for the day and the next day they want come back. we had very little time to plan. >> in 2004, when the city opened up marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples we were here. and then got in and got married. we were so appreciative for the city to do this and make it available. it was for chaos. >> in 2004, we had no idea what to expect. we had originally wanted to marry under the 9:00 a.m. court
opening. meaning we were trying to do it in a way where we could get the first marriage under the bell before the courts came in to stop us. what we didn't know was what we didn't know. it's going about things and not knowing the consequences. we had to quickly organize a way to get through the enormity of requests to get married >> later that year, the california supreme court ruled they were void. >> the law in this case worked. we challenged the law and went up the ranks and eventually the supreme court said stop and we stop. there was a great sense of
despair in some sense, but hopefulness that we would live to fight another day and in spite of those licenses be voided and the fact there was disappointment and we had to stop and everything we had done had been taken a way as well. i think people lived with the expectation that they may see what they now have seen. i don't think many of us thought it would happen so quickly. >> after years of working it's way through the california system. the supreme court voted unanimously to challenge the ban on same sex marriages. >> we are literally across the
street and couples could run and demand we offer a marriage license to them. >> we got the call early on may 14th, where they said can you come in and make a meeting. that's where we found out the court already notified the city attorney's office there were going to render a decision >> then on may 15, the supreme court struck down the ban on same sex marriage in a 4 to 3 vote. they fought all the way and won. >> what a day in san francisco. what a day in california. what a day for america. what a day for equality. >> the most extraordinary part of this is i support we had from the elected family. what cities would you have an
entire board of supervisors and a city attorney who was ready to fight and had purposefulness. >> the supreme court's decision was final at june 16th at 5:00 p.m.. >> he married the lesbian couple at 5:01 p.m.. >> we expected that we would have a significant interest in getting married at city hall. >> we realized we were not staffed up to get licenses that people were anticipating. we definitely did not want people waiting in long lines. we wanted them to plan and
invite their friends. know what time you're going to have your ceremony. >> we had to create an appointment system and let the people know ahead of time that on a given particular day, that's all we can accommodate. >> we appreciate they can make travel plans and know when they get here, their flight lands and we are going to get to them at 12 >> on june 16th, huge crowds gathered in anticipation of the historic moment. newses crews from around the world were sent to cover the first same sex marriage >> i think today marriage as an institution has been
strengthened. i think today marriage has been affirmd and today we can say, it's the first day in the state of california that we are providing marriage equally and fairly to everyone, denying no one their right to live out loud. [applause]. >> meanwhile, the office the clerk had been busy planning to move its licensing for a 2-week period to handle the hundreds of apointments. >> we couldn't shut down our offices because there's other services we provide. it wasn't like we could shut down, take the equipment here and move it to a satellite
office. >> it was up to the it director to do the best you can. beg, borrow and steal and we knew what the mission was, what our goal was. with our it group and our software vender, they came together and pulled it together for us in the north light court >> handling several hundreds of marriages required volunteers >> you know, on the outside, it looks pretty simple. behind the scenes, there was a momental, mountain of work, the details into everything we had to do. it was overwhelming. because we have such a great department, they stepped up and
said what do you need? what part of this can we take over and you can concentrate on the things you need to concentrate on. olga was coordinating all of the volunteers. >> we had 350 volunteers and i received hundreds of emails and calls. city employees and members of the public that wanted to work. >> we had to come up with training programs. there's a check in person. you were a greeter, part of the licensing issue unit. you were on the recording side and each one of those functions
required different skills. or the deputy message commissioner. >> donna place the ring and repeat after me. >> that was just a huge load off of our plates when she took that over. and every day i thank her and i said, i can't thank you enough. >> i worked a lot of late nights. may be the latest was 2:30 a.m.. my has would say, you have to go to bed. the first week, it was beyond midnight, one click. once i think it was after 230 in the morning and i was trying to get this out. >> they said we would get our
schedules sunday night, so 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock, 10 o'clock. i got it at 11 o'clock. this person who doing the schedule, there was a whole spread sheet and the 5 shifts and so she had all these names and having to coordinate based on the demand and it was impressive. it was the first time i appreciated what administrators do. >> you get in a.m. training session, 4 hours. that would be the complete training session and there would be another group in the
p.m. for training as well. >> the marriage commission was simple, smooth and then we were all sworn in. >> on june 17th, the office of the clerk was sworn in. >> we had volunteers to come in and greet them. >> i am a greeter at city hall and we provide information for families coming to get married. a lot of people are here for the first time. quite a few people are here from out of state and out of country. this was a big deal getting married. we have talked to people together for 38, 40 years.
they are excited and nervous. >> once we figured a way to have a security area for appointments for license and ceremony. we looked at the north light court how it's structured. how people would come in and the work flow of that area. there is a check-in area in front of the central entrance and they would verify their appointments and they would proceed. >> my wife who works for the city told me they were looking for volunteers. and that's me. so, i was interested in helping out. and i think it's those people that have been together for a long time that are the most moving story. i am sure the young people
appreciate, the more you appreciate the change. >> i think what's also moving is the fact that everyone that works in the city is enthusiastic. everybody in city hall. they are very excited and behind the whole change going into affect. >> i just got an email. i work for the san francisco public library. they needed volunteers. it was something i wanted to do. i have friends who have been married. i wanted to help out. >> i am a summer intern. i am working on gender equality in the private sector. the theme is equality for the summer.
it's pretty exciting. people are really nervous. we have to ask them for id. >> we and have an appointment and allow them to proceed >> once you are ready, you and your husband to be need to check in with me here. that's process you one by one. get your license here and re-enter. >> city hall is going to take care of you today. >> don't worry about the time line. >> we are greeting people here and directing them to the services they need, which is licensing or getting the ceremony performed. we are making sure nobody else
jumps the line. >> the marriage license process is defined by the court space. >> okay. are we good? >> thank you so much. >> this is an opportunity to choose to be a part of history. many times history happens to us, in this case, you can choose to be a part of it. it's an historic day. i am very proud to be here >> hopefully, people will see that gay and lesbian people have loving relationships. it puts a face on that for a lot of people. i think there's all the of misconception of who gay and lesbian people are. i think it's important to see, we love our husbands and wives. we have the right to have families just like everybody else. >> they are so happy. and they out pour it to us.
helping them through this special day for them. >> from there, they would be redirected back. if they had a ceremony, there's a commissioner station near the exit where they can go in a continuous license and ceremony process. >> since volunteering last monday, i have performed 12 marriage services. they were extremely emotional. there's a couple that had been together for 9 years. they had a wedding planned in australia. it was a very lovely moment and very emotional today.
i married a couple that had been together for 29 years. it was a very, very emotional ceremony. >> the least amount of time that any couple has been together is 2 years. most of them have been together 8, 9, 10. i'd say 70 percent. >> for love is truly the greatest gift we are given to share. love's compassion is the glory of life. >> i work in the juvenile department. the mayor asked the liasson from all departments. i wanted to be a part of this history. some parts i wouldn't want to be. this part was really wonderful and a joyous occasion and a long time coming. it's absolutely the right thing to do. to bring 2 loving people
together, in helping acknowledge and certify that relationship, i find really wonderful and a joy and one of the most pleasurable things i have ever done in the city in my life. i will be continuing this afterwards >> when i was conducting the ceremony. some of the friends said, now it's real, now it's legal. in other words, they had gotten married before. this time, it's legal. you know, a sanctioned. it was hard for me to get to the end. i was starting to get emotional too. >> it's really one of the most extraordinary gifts to be given in life and that's to participate in a ceremony where
you can celebrate the ultimate gift in life and that was falling in love. i say this because it's important to remind people. doesn't matter what position you have in life. you can't buy it and you can't force it upon anything. love just happens. when it happens, it's something to celebrate and the idea that you can participate in that celebration. that affirmation, to conduct the ceremony. that's as good as it gets. for those volunteers what a gift for them and take up that time and contribute their time and receive so much more back. and expression of love and life. >> each person with the
reporter's office, the best volunteer is the guy at the end who did is that stamp, that means you are married. >> i am actually glad i am assigned here. it's a fun way to be involved in the process. it's the end where we hand out the official marriage certificate. this is a copy of the certificate here. >> there was one couple who was together for 30 years and it wasn't legal until today. you have to see the look in the eyes of the folks getting married. they are still jazzed and buzzed and wired. >> with behind site from 2004,
and a lot more time to prepare and over 350 volunteers. they provided a very different marriage experience. >> it has made up feel wonderful and acceptd and celebrated. so, the fact that i see so many people who have given their time to volunteer here means a tremendous amount. >> they are doing it in extra time in addition to the time they work here. >> we are usually good at putting our feelings down >> it went according to plan.
this was what was planned for. people have commented, oh , my god, you are part of history and so many couples did we marry? how many dreams did we make come true. i feel like this is something we are here and charged with this responsibility to turn off. >> there was a lot of agencies that offered up their employees to help us out for this duration in the north light court process. it's overwhelming how city government works. this is a time for san francisco city employees out shined >> it should have happened years and years ago, and that's why i am so proud to be a part of this.
that's why the late nights didn't bother me. i would get exhausted. in terms of what i'm doing, i feel so good. i feel so good about san francisco and the impact we are making in the state. we changed the state. >> you had clerks in the state of california that didn't step up. they walked away. we are not only going to not do same sex marriages not a second time any. in contrast, in san francisco, this is what we can do, add up all these computers here. expand our capacity by x. we can open up early. stay open late and on weekends. it's unbelievable and we
coordinate all the training and get all through the process and make sure everything is signed and certified. that's a model for others. what happens is, when people prove things can be done. it raises the bar for what's possible. >> i think a lot of people were here from 2004 and they knew what that was like and wanted to take part in 2008. i think people really again, you know, stepped up and really put out their best that anybody could do in very short amount of time and literally, i think we pulled this together in 2 weeks. we put in long hours to make this all happen.